A projector can be an excellent choice for a sports bar. In terms of price per inch, they’re by far the most affordable way to get both a massive screen and the vivid detail you need to see every play. The best projector for a sports bar is one that has a low lag time, high contrast, and decently bright bulb, so you can actually see what’s going on in the game.
Considering all factors, the Optoma UHD50X is the best all-around projector for a sports bar. That said, it’s not the clear winner in every category. Before we get into the full details of each projector, lets look at how they stack up on the key points. (>>> Check it’s pricing on Amazon)
Find your best projector for sports in 2021
|Optoma UHD50x||Optoma UHD30||Optoma UHD38||Optoma GT1090HDR||BenQ TK700STi|
|Brightness (Lumens)||3,400 ANSI||3,400 ANSI||4,000 ANSI||4,200 ANSI||3,000 ANSI|
|Throw Distance||4.2' - 33.0'||4.0' - 26.6'||4.0' - 32.7'||1.3' - 10.9'||2.4' - 19.6'|
|Screen size||34”-302”||34”-302”||33" - 300"||36" - 301"||30" - 300"|
|Built in Speakers||5.0 Watts||5.0 Watts||10.0 Watts Mono||2 x 10.0 Watts||5.0 Watts Mono|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
Some home theater projectors are designed for use in completely dark rooms, and that won’t do in a sports bar. While the light level in sports bars is usually lower than in many restaurants, stores, and other public spaces, you’ll still need a relatively bright lamp on whichever projector you buy.
For most sports bars, a brightness of 3,000 lumens or more should do the trick. All of the projectors below meet this standard. If your bar is on the brighter side, or you want the option of using the projector in outdoor spaces, you’ll want a brightness of at least 4,000 lumens to compensate. At 4,200 lumens, the Optoma GT1090HDR is our top pick for use in well-lit spaces, with the 4,000-lumen Optoma UHD38 close behind.
Brightest projector: Optoma GT1090HDR
A high picture quality comes from a combination of factors. For clarity and detail, look at the resolution. Projectors with 4K ultra HD use more pixels, giving the picture more realism when you’re watching sports. Color accuracy is another big part of this equation. A wider color gamut gives the projector more hues to pick from and enhances the realism of what you’re viewing.
Another thing to consider is how well the projector handles fast on-screen movement. Stats like a low input lag and high frame refresh rate are often talked about more in the context of gaming but are just as important for getting smooth performance from any content. The high frame rate, sharp contrast, 4K resolution, and wide color gamut of both the Optoma UHD38 and UHD50X check all the boxes for an ideal sports bar picture.
Installation Ease and Flexibility
A wide range of screen sizes helps make a projector more flexible, especially in sports bars where you might want different-sized screens in different areas. While all of these projectors are relatively simple to set up, there are some key features on the UHD50X that give it the leg up over the other models. Along with keystone correction and a 1.3x zoom, the inclusion of lens shift is helpful for fine-tuning the image placement quickly.
Throw distance is often less of a concern for commercial spaces than it is in home theater use. Many bars can accommodate even the 30-foot or longer throw distance most projectors need to generate a huge 300” picture, and you may not even need a screen that large depending on your space. That said, the Optoma GT1090HDR has a short throw distance if that’s something you need.
Easiest installation: Optoma UHD50X
How you get the content to the projector makes a difference in how easy it is to set up. All of the projectors on this list have an HDMI input, and will work with any modern content source, including cable boxes and streaming sticks. This gives them good versatility, though you will still need to consider how you’ll keep the wires out of sight (and where customers won’t trip on them).
The BenQ TK700STi adds wireless content capability to the wired inputs you’ll find on the other models. It also has an integrated streaming interface that connects to the Google Play store, letting you download a wide variety of content apps right to the projector, potentially eliminating the need to use an external content source.
Most extensive connectivity: BenQ TK700STi
Best Projector for Sports Bars: Full Reviews
For the best picture quality in a sports bar, the Optoma UHD50X is our top choice. It pairs a native 4K resolution with Dynamic Black enhancement of the contrast ratio. Colors are bright and true to life, as well, thanks to the 8-segment color wheel and UltraDetail technology. You’ll especially appreciate the high frame rate when you’re watching sports, eliminating motion blur and choppiness so you can stay focused on the action.
Flexibility is another point in favor of the Optoma UHD50X. It’s bright enough to compete with the ambient light level of a sports bar. You can get a truly massive screen with it, too, up to 302” on the diagonal. While the throw distance is on the long side, it has the image correction options you need for ceiling-mounted installations or off-center placement. On the whole, it’s easy to set up in any space.
If you’re on a tight budget, the higher cost of the Optoma UHD50X could give you pause. That said, the performance and picture quality of the UHD50X are worth the price, especially if you want to give your customers the best viewing experience possible. A more detailed review of the Optoma UHD50x can be found here.
- True native 4K resolution
- High frame refresh rate for smooth movement on-screen
- Sharp picture with realistic, vibrant colors
- Bright lamp
- Low maintenance with long lamp life
- Easy to install and adjust image
- Higher cost
- Long throw distance
Another great option from Optoma is their UHD30. It’s similar to the UHD50X in many respects, including a bright lamp, native 4K resolution, and an 8-segment color wheel. Overall, the picture is as realistic and smooth as what you’d see in a movie theater. >>> Check detailed Optoma UHD30 vs UHD50x comparison.
The Optoma UHD30 doesn’t quite match the flexibility of the UHD50X. It has the same wide range of screen sizes but also shares the long throw distance. The zoom is more limited and there’s no lens shift, though there is still a vertical keystone correction and it can be ceiling mounted easily.
If you don’t need a lens shift, the Optoma UHD30 is basically the same projector as the UHD50X when it comes to picture quality and performance, but at a slightly lower price. That makes the UHD30 an exceptional value and a great choice for most sports bars. Click here for the full UHD30 review.
- High contrast ratio and color accuracy
- Sharp, detailed picture
- Won’t get washed out from ambient light
- Smooth action with no lag
- Easy to install and use
- Wide range of screen sizes
- No lens shift
- Price is still one of the highest on the list
From a picture quality standpoint, the Optoma UHD38 has similar stats to the UHD50X. This includes true 4K resolution with UltraDetail enhancement and an 8-segment color wheel for a wide color gamut. It also supports HLG and HDR10, with Dynamic Black contrast enhancement. A high 240Hz frame rate keeps that detail sharp even when things are moving quickly. All of this translates to a realistic picture so you can get immersed in whatever sports you’re watching.
The 4,000 ANSI lumens produced by the Optoma UHD38 is bright enough to compete with any indoor light level, and can even cope with semi-outdoor spaces like covered patios in the daytime. This gives it a good amount of flexibility, though you will still need a lot of space to use it since its throw distance is relatively long. It can also be mounted or placed on a flat surface, and has a wide 2D keystone correction to correct the geometry if you can’t install it head-on to the screen.
From a long-term maintenance standpoint, the lamp lifespan of the Optoma UHD38 is acceptable but not exceptional. It’ll last up to 15,000 hours on eco mode, but only has an average lifespan of around 4,000 hours on brighter settings—something to keep in mind if you’re using it in a well-lit area.
- Native 4K resolution with HDR10 and HLG
- High dynamic contrast
- High frame rate for smooth on-screen action
- Super bright lamp suitable for any indoor light level
- Keystone correction adds installation flexibility
- Longer throw distance
- No lens shift or rotation adjustment
The cost of the Optoma GT1090HDR is a bit on the high side for a full HD projector. If that’s the main thing you’re concerned about, the GT1090HDR isn’t a great value, and it does have the lowest picture resolution on this list. Having said that, it’s a durable projector with a long lamp lifespan, as long as 30,000 hours. That makes it a great choice if you’re looking at the long-term value.
One reason to consider the Optoma GT1090HDR is if your sports bar is brightly lit, or if you want to use the projector in an outdoor space. At 4,200 lumens, the picture will stay bright even outside in the day as long as you’re under a patio or awning.
The other main advantage of the GT1090HDR is its short throw distance. You can get a massive 300” picture from only 11 feet away. This makes the Optoma GT1090HDR an excellent choice for small spaces or unusual layouts. The inclusion of automatic 4-corner correction also makes it easier to set up and align the image, so it’s a user-friendly way to bring big screen entertainment to your bar. For the full review of this projector click here.
- Bright enough to use even in well-lit spaces
- Easy to install and adjust image
- Shorter throw distance
- Lamp is more durable and dust-resistant
- Good contrast and color accuracy
- On the pricey side for a 1080p projector
The main thing setting the BenQ TK700STi apart from other options on this list is its built-in Android TV interface. This can potentially cut down on the wires, devices, and remotes you need, a simplicity that can be very helpful in a sports bar.
The installation of the BenQ TK700STi is also flexible and simple. Its throw distance isn’t the shortest on the list but it’s on the shorter side, producing a 100” image from around 6-7 feet away. Paired with this is a 2D keystone correction and corner fit correction, ensuring a square image even if the projector is installed a bit askew.
The 3,000 lumens produced by the BenQ TK700STi will be bright enough for any indoor light environment, and is definitely bright enough for the majority of sports bars. The DLP display produces the full Rec. 709 spectrum that’s the broadcast standard, with 4K resolution for sharp, realistic detail. The only place it falls a bit short of the other options is its image contrast, which is a bit lower than the dynamic contrast available on the Optoma projectors.
- True 4K resolution
- Wireless connectivity
- Built-in Android streaming interface
- Full coverage of Rec. 709 color spectrum
- Flexible set-up with relatively short throw distance
- Weak built-in sound
- Lower image contrast
In terms of performance and value, the Optoma UHD50X is our top choice for a sports bar. (>>> Check the current price on Amazon) It has the best overall picture quality, including sharp 4K resolution that maintains its clarity even during fast-paced action. >>> 4K projector buyer’s guide.
Remember not every projector is ideal for every space, though. Before making your choice, there are two big questions you need to ask yourself: what kind of space you’re working with and what kinds of sports you’re watching. If you need to be able to track small or fast-moving objects, the high frame refresh rate of the Optoma UHD38 and BenQ TK700STi will give you the smoothest on-screen movement.
In a commercial space, throw distance isn’t normally a big concern. If you have a small bar with a cramped or complicated layout, though, the shorter distance needed for the Optoma GT1090HDR or BenQ TK700STi can be helpful. Both also have a good range of image adjustment options so they’re flexible to install.
Any of these projectors will serve you well for watching sports and can be a great alternative to traditional TVs, giving you a bigger screen for less money. We hope this article has helped you figure out which projector is ideal for your needs!